Sunday, February 14, 2016

Salix xBoydii

 Some time ago Otto gave me a cutting of Salix xBoydii, when the December "The Alpine Gardener"
arrived with an article explaining the parentage of Salix xBoydii where it was discovered and who had discovered it. It made me think how long Salix xBoydii had been in the country, what year had Otto imported it. I asked him if he had a record of the year that he imported the Salix of course he came up with the catalogue and the invoice and a record of some of the Salix he imported as well. As you can see the plants cost very little in 1976 but it would have cost nearly a thousand dollars or more to import plants back then and as it does today, and there was no guarantee the plants would survive in quarantine. Thank goodness he did import these tiny little Salix as they are all banned from entering Australia now as they are classified as weeds.
Salix xBoydii was mentioned way back in the very first volume of the Quarterly Bulletin of the Alpine Garden Society, but I personally have found the best description was in Volume 26 No 4 1958 in the Plant Awards  "It is a genuine dwarf shrub which reaches only very gradually 3 feet in height. The stems are gnarled, brownish, somewhat bent and much branched almost to the base, making a shapely bush. The leaves are sessile cordate and rounded at the tip with greyish green on the top and white woolly hairs on the under side. The catkins, which are rarely produced are short and not nearly so attractive as those of many other willows. The main charm of the plant lies in its conspicuous silvery foliage.
Salix xBoydii appreciates a damp cool position in the garden and when grown in a pot should not be exposed to the hottest sunshine. A photograph of the original plant growing in Dr. Boyd's garden will be found in the Bulletin Vol. 1, p. 163" and if you have the Cds of Bulletin of the Alpine Garden Society you can have a look for yourselves.
The history of plant introductions is almost as good as the explorers themselves which Di and Marg will be talking about later in the year as part of our Syllabus.

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